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An environmental aide makes a hospital bed with a student helper.
July 16, 2018

Introducing… an environmental aide

April Heinbecker is an environmental aide (EA) based in the emergency department at Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) Juravinski Hospital. She has been with HHS since 1996, starting her career here in nutrition services. April has been in her current role for three years.

What do you love most about your role?

Since I moved to Juravinski Hospital last year, I love working there. Staff are great, work is very fast, and every day is different. Before that, I worked in the pediatric inpatient unit at McMaster Children’s Hospital. I loved talking to young patients and their families. It was my favourite thing to do. Sometimes a parent just needed someone to talk to, a hug or a shoulder to cry on. I love to make the children smile and laugh.

What do you find challenging?

The biggest challenge for me is trying to keep up. The ED gets quite busy at times and our job is to ensure any patient touch points are disinfected regularly.

Describe a typical day.

Besides making sure my hands are clean all the time? I clean and sanitize patient areas. It’s important for people who are in the hospital to heal as quickly as possible and not get any more sick. If they come into contact with an area that hasn’t been sanitized, they risk getting infected. This can then prolong their stay. As an EA, I am also responsible for transporting patients to different areas within the department.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.

My most gratifying experiences are when parents would often bring their children—former patients of McMaster Children’s Hospital—on the unit to visit me during their clinic appointments. That always meant so much to me. And the fact that so many former patients have kept in contact with me makes me so happy.